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Three questions with Spirit Sports

FOOTWEAR distributor Spirit Sports is gearing up for big changes in the retail sector by embracing digital technologies. The company was first started in Hong Kong before setting up in Singapore about a decade ago.

There are plans for "energetic expansion locked in for the next 12 months; which will very quickly beef up staff numbers and company turnover", says general manager Stephanie Benedetti.

What is the toughest challenge small businesses face when it comes to digital transformation?

Lynly Fong: People are scared of change, even when it can be for the better. There needs to be more messaging out there and examples of how everyday businesses - not just tech-savvy companies - have changed and transformed, so there isn't such a lag from early adopters to the majority.

Stephanie: It would be good to have community and government events where SME leaders can come together to discuss and share their ideas and challenges. This would be a great way to embark on digital transformation together.

How have cloud-based solutions helped your business grow?

Stephanie: Xero's platform keeps us updated on the company's accounts in real time instead of only at the end of the month. This can have a real impact on business decisions.

From staff pay to what pair of shoes is the best-seller of the day, we all have access to this information with the tap of a button on our mobile phones.

Lynly: Productivity has been the key driver for going digital. In the past, growing the business meant adding more staff to do backend admin. With the platforms and solutions we have implemented, we've managed to streamline our processes. Someone who had to spend eight hours on mundane tasks no longer has to, and can be deployed to other areas of the business.

What was your top takeaway from Budget 2018?

Lynly: We are excited to take advantage of the government schemes on offer to incorporate more technology into the business as well as expand regionally - right now, we are exploring the Malaysian market.

We feel that the Budget is overall well thought-out and we are appreciative of the support to SMEs such as Spirit Sports and Spirit Retail.